UCLA guard Kyle Anderson and Sacramento State forward Alex Tiffin battle… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
It is the time of the season when good basketball teams schedule ones that aren't so good.
And so we get games such as the one at Pauley Pavilion on Monday night. The arena was maybe a third full and UCLA needed a big run to end the first half to make this game feel safe for the Bruins.
But 22nd-ranked UCLA (3-0) had that 16-6 flurry to finish the first half and the Bruins ended up beating Sacramento State, 86-50.
An alley-oop pass from Kyle Anderson to Norman Powell that ended with a slam dunk for Powell and a 40-23 UCLA lead early in the second half did bring some of the sparse crowd to life. A few even stood.
Jordan Adams led the scoring with his 21 points and had eight steals. He was one of five Bruins to hit double figures. Anderson just missed being the sixth Bruin in double figures (he had eight points) but his eight assists was a career high for the sophomore.
And the game was neatly put in UCLA's win column when Adams scored seven straight points, including a three-pointer, that put the Bruins ahead, 57-29, with 13 minutes 11 seconds left and were part of a 14-0 UCLA run.
Another highlight play was a flying slam dunk from Powell and his free throw that grew UCLA's lead to 62-30.
Coach Steve Alford was pleased with the defense.
"We showed some progress in that area between the Oakland and Drexel game," Alford said. "We really took a step forward this game.
"They did a lot of different things we had to guard tonight and we did it."
"Congratulations to him. You always have to look for the ball when he has it," said freshman Zach LaVine, who had 14 points.
In the first half, it helped that the Bruins shot free throws (making 12) while Sacramento State (1-2) had zero free throws or attempts. The Bruins led at halftime, 36-23, but only had one more field goal than the Hornets.
The teams combined for 15 turnovers in the first half and both teams seemed to play at half speed.
David Wear and Adams had eight points in the first half to lead the Bruins and Powell had seven for UCLA.
Dylan Garrity led the Hornets with 18 points.